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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
October 1, 2019, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

NOTE:  Docket participants who wish to join this meeting by conference call should contact the Commission at 605-773-3201 by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, September 30, 2019, to reserve a phone line. Lines are limited and assigned on a first come, first served basis, subject to possible reassignment to accommodate persons who must appear in a proceeding. Ultimately, if you wish to participate in docket discussion at the Commission Meeting and a line is not available, you may have to appear in person.Certificate of Service 

NOTE:  To listen to the Commission Meeting live please go to the PUC’s website and click on the LIVE link on the home page. The Commission requests persons who will only be listening to proceedings and not actively appearing in a case listen via the webcast to free phone lines for those who have to appear.  The Commission meetings are archived on the PUC’s website under the Commission Actions tab. Click on “Commission Meeting Archives,” to access the recordings.Certificate of Service

NOTE: Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place. If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.



1.     Approval of Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on September 17, 2019 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

Consumer Reports

1.     Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)


1.     EL19-028       In the Matter of the Petition of Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy for Approval of Deferred Accounting Treatment for SD Sun Project Transaction and Development Costs (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

On July 31, 2019, Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy (BHE or Company) filed a Petition requesting approval from the Commission to utilize deferred accounting and establish a regulatory asset related to the acquisition of development rights for three solar energy projects collectively known as the SD Sun Projects. In March of 2018, the Company acquired the ownership interests in the SD Sun Project Companies, which at the time were owners of the SD Sun Projects being developed as Qualifying Facility projects under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA). The SD Sun Projects were in various stages of development at the time of acquisition, and BHE was obligated to purchase the eventual output from these projects pursuant to PURPA. The Company states the decision to purchase the development rights of these projects would avoid approximately $4,700,000 in annual costs for fuel and purchased power for customers. BHE also states it evaluated various options for developing the SD Sun Projects as a utility-owned resource but determined that it was not economically feasible to do so. BHE seeks approval to amortize the transaction and development costs related to the SD Sun Projects over a period of time beginning September 1, 2019, through December 31, 2022. BHE states it will not seek an increase in customer rates as a result of the accounting treatment requested. On August 14, 2019, Fall River Solar, LLC filed a Petition to Intervene.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant intervention to any party who may have filed?

2.     EL19-033       In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

On September 11, 2019, the Commission received a Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative Inc. dba Sioux Valley Energy (Sioux Valley) and Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative Inc. (LREC) to allow LREC to provide single-phase electric service to a customer in Sioux Valley territory. Under the Service Rights Exception, Sioux Valley shall retain the right of service to any three-phase service that may be developed at the location.

     TODAY, shall the Commission approve the requested service rights exception between Sioux Valley Energy and Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative?

Grain Warehouse

1.     GW19-002     In the Matter of the PUC Staff’s Complaint Against High Country Mercantile, Inc. (Grain Warehouse Manager: Cody Chambliss; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

On August 1, 2019, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission staff (staff) filed with the Commission a complaint against High Country Mercantile, Inc. (HCM). In the Complaint, staff alleges HCM is buying grain without a grain buyer license in violation of SDCL 49-45-1. On August 7, 2019, the Commission heard the Complaint, deferred the issue of a fine, and directed staff to seek an injunction in circuit court pursuant to SDCL 49-45-1. On August 13, 2019, staff filed an Amended Complaint. In the Amended Complaint, staff alleges HCM has made over 100 purchases without a license and requests the Commission issue an order finding HCM to be in violation of SDCL 49-45-1 and issue a fine for the violations. On September 3, 2019, this matter was deferred until the October 1, 2019, Commission meeting.

     TODAY, shall the Commission issue an order finding HCM to be in violation of SDCL 49-45-1 and issue a fine for the violations? OR, how shall the Commission proceed?


1.     TC19-047       In the Matter of the Filing by Midcontinent Communications for Approval of Revisions to Its Local Exchange Service Tariff nalyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

On September 11, 2019, the Commission received a filing from Midcontinent Communications (Midco) requesting approval of revisions to its Local Exchange Service Tariff No. 1, replacing it in its entirety with a new tariff. On September 12, 2019, Midco filed a redlined tariff. On September 19, 2019, Midco filed a letter requesting to withdraw the filing.
     TODAY, shall the Commission approve Midco’s request to withdraw the filing?

Items for Commission Discussion

Public Comment

Individuals who wish to make public comments to the commission may do so in person during this time. All who offer public comment are requested to sign in at the commission meeting. Time limits for comments may be determined at the discretion of the commission.


  1. Commissioners and staff will meet with representatives of Northern Natural Gas on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. CDT in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota. The agenda is to discuss a rate case and business update and a recap of the company’s winter 2018-2019 activities. Canceled 10/01/19.

  2. Commissioners and staff will attend the MRES Legal Seminar, on Friday, October 4, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CDT at the Missouri River Energy Services headquarters, 3724 West Avera Drive, Sioux Falls, South Dakota..

  3. Commissioners will attend the South Dakota Municipal League Annual Conference, October 9-10, 2019, at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, 1400 Eighth Avenue NW, Aberdeen, South Dakota.

  4. The PUC office will be closed Monday, October 14, 2019, in observance of the Native American Day holiday.

  5. PUC representatives will meet with Nebraska Public Service Commission members and staff, CenturyLink representatives, and South Dakota CenturyLink customers from the Valentine, Nebraska, telephone exchange (prefix 378) on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. CDT at The Niobrara Lodge, 803 E. Highway 20, Valentine, Nebraska. The agenda is to discuss the progress of improvements to the CenturyLink telephone system and provision of broadband internet service in the area.

  6. The next regular commission meeting will be Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. CDT in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota.

  7. PUC Commissioners and staff will meet with representatives of Otter Tail Power Co. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, at 8:00 a.m. CDT in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota. The agenda includes discussion about the impact of the Regional Haze Rule on Coyote Station, status of current large projects and a resource plan update.

  8. Commission meetings are scheduled for October 30 and November 12, 2019.

/s/Cindy Kemnitz       .
Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
PUC Email
September 24, 2019